Twins third baseman José Miranda has withdrawn from the World Baseball Classic due to shoulder soreness, reports Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. He was set to play for Puerto Rico in the upcoming tournament but will instead stick in camp with the Twins.
Manager Rocco Baldelli spoke with members of the media about the issue today, with Do-Hyoung Park of MLB.com relaying some pertinent quotes (Twitter links). It seems the main issue is throwing, as Miranda is still able to hit and will be serving as the designated hitter in some upcoming games. “We’re still quite hopeful that he’s going to be ready to go Opening Day, but he’s not throwing right now,” Baldelli said. “We don’t have larger concerns or long-term concerns. We think he’s going to be OK, but he needs some time.”
It doesn’t seem like Miranda is in danger of an extended absence since he can still serve as the DH, but if he can’t take the field, the club will have to think about who will play third base until Miranda is ready to go. This offseason, the Twins traded away Gio Urshela and Luis Arraez, clearing out their corner infield spots for players like Miranda and Alex Kirilloff. Without Miranda, the hot corner could potentially be manned by Kyle Farmer or Donovan Solano.
Some other notes from around the American League…
- Cavan Biggio has primarily been an infielder for the Blue Jays but could spend significant time in the outfield this season. Manager John Schneider tells Keegan Matheson of MLB.com he expects Biggio to play “a ton” of outfield this year, perhaps as much as a 50-50 split with his infield work. Biggio has 383 innings of outfield work on his résumé thus far, significantly less than the over 2,000 innings he’s split between second base, third base and first base. Whit Merrifield, acquired at the trade deadline this year, seemed to take over as the club’s primary option at second base after coming aboard. With Matt Chapman and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at the corners and players like Santiago Espinal and Addison Barger competing for bench jobs, it’s possible Biggio’s best path to playing time is on the grass/turf. The regular outfield in Toronto should consist of George Springer, Daulton Varsho and Kevin Kiermaier, but Biggio could perhaps serve as the fourth outfielder if Merrifield, who also plays the outfield, is sticking at the keystone. Biggio hit .240/.368/.430 in his first two seasons for a 118 wRC+ but has dealt with back injuries in the past two, leading to a diminished line of .213/.320/.353, wRC+ of 90.
- Astros outfielder Justin Dirden is impressing in camp and could potentially nab a roster spot at the end of spring. “Who knows? We’ll see who’s injured, who’s not, who’s playing well and what we need. Everyone is getting about the same shot to impress us,” manager Dusty Baker tells Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle. “I’m impressed with him. We’re impressed with him. That’s why he’s here. He’s getting a lot of playing time, a lot of looks, and he’s playing well. He’s playing very well.” It’s been quite a journey for Dirden, 25, who was not selected in the shortened 2020 draft and signed with the Astros afterwards as an undrafted free agent. He’s been tearing the cover off the ball since that time, including a .274/.397/.537 line in 2021 between Class-A and High-A. Last year, he got bumped to Double-A and hit 20 home runs in 92 games, slashing .324/.411/.616 for a wRC+ of 157. He got a late-season promotion to Triple-A and struggled but is now turning heads in Grapefruit League games. His ability to play center field gives him a chance to compete with Jake Meyers for a backup outfielder job behind Chas McCormick, Michael Brantley, Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez. Those four are expected to take up the three outfield jobs and designated hitter slot, but an injury could always open up a path for both Meyers and Dirden to make the team. Brantley is making his way back from last year’s shoulder surgery while Alvarez is dealing with continued hand soreness.
Astros keep spawning MLB help from their farm even though it’s rated incredibly poorly. I thought part of the punishments was to make their farm worthless. Nice job there Manfred! Also, cavan biggio stinks and can probably be upgraded from with one of the Jays triple a infielders like Barger and Otto lopez
Atlanta also clearly feeling the effects of those punishments for international signing violations, integrity of the sport remains sky high.
Atlanta still got a ring, despite their scandal, and they’ve also had at least one player receive rookie of the year votes each year since 2018. Could do it again this year too with Vaughn Grisshom. Idk if they’re really feeling the effects of it.
S. ok, who has T?
Sid Bream Speed Demon
I mean, it isn’t really about integrity, they lost that whole class and never got the money back. Copy got the death penalty which was recently reversed. Should they have had to move the team?
Face it fanboys, the Astros and Braves are top-notch organizations that will keep dominating for the foreseeable future.
Biggio has struggled for a couple years now, but given his minor league track record leading up to his promotion to the bigs, I’m hopeful he can turn it around. Was a big part of the Fishercats AA title win(I believe he won the league MVP that year), a team that also happened to be managed/coached by John Schneider. It’s also early in spring and his at bats haven’t been given away like they have in the past few years. Could be a sign of things to come.
Biggio could return a 4th OF type guy in a trade. Barger needs consistent reps, not sitting on the bench.
Barger is probably in AAA all year waiting for Bo or Chapman to get hurt.
Barger is also likely the new Jays 3B in 24 as Chapman is a Boras client. He won’t sign before FA and Machado just priced the Jays out of keeping Chapman
I’d also add Merrifield to the players that Barger could replace if they went on the IL. Lord knows that Biggio can’t handle the left side of the infield.
Terrible that the B. Jays might bench their all star 2B in Español. I don’t think they should have evme tendered Cavan a contract since he has no trade value
Espinal had an allstar first half. He turned back into a pumpkin in the second half. Average bat with no power and a decent glove. He’s not bad, but Merrifield is clearly better looking at their careers to this point. I still expect Merrifield to go to the outfield to replace an injured outfielder at some point and then Espy will be back at second. I hope Biggio gets it figured out this year, but right now, I don’t think anyone can count on him for anything.
It’s take about a week into the season before injuries create plenty of opportunity for all of them. Who gets into the opening day lineup doesn’t really matter.
Minneapolis Dollar Pocket
Twins have six guys who can play the corners.
Biggio, like father like son
Solano signing already paying off. Could possibly open the door for Edouardo Julien to make the opening day roster as a utility guy
If Biggio plays a lot of games in the outfield, it means the Jays season is in the toilet. Living off his dad’s name.
Public Service Announcement: George Springer tends to get injured. He’s a very good player, but the cliche applies – maybe the most important ability is availability.
I don’t understand the Biggio hate, has he been good the last 2 years? No. But why? Injuries
Biggio in his rookie season went 250/400/400 with 15 HR in about 60% of a season.
He started at 2nd and hit leadoff.
His problems started the next year when he arrived to spring injured, tried to play through it and essentially has been oon the IL more than off it for 2 full years.
The issues got exaggerated when he lost the leadoff spot to Springer, then was asked to become the full time 3rd baseman.
Shapiro and Atkins obviously know more about this than I do, but the eye test tells me Biggio when healthy is a 400 on base threat and 800 OPS hitter and plays more than adequate 2B.
All I’m hearing is Merrifield is the starter at 2nd, when he has to cover CF then Biggio will take over 2nd.
I would prefer to see Merrifield be the 4th OF and Biggio start at 2nd to start the year. Give him 6-8 weeks and if he fails he’s cut.
Either way, these are good problems to have
I don’t have any hatred of Biggio. I recognize that his star has fallen to the point where he is behind Merrifield, Espinal, and Barger.
If the Jays could have landed Grossman, Biggio doesn’t have a position to play.
Biggio’s value is what he brings back in trade
I don’t think Biggio gets traded, as you’re right. At the moment Biggio has 0 value outside of being a reclamation project, although he’s 26 or 27 already so even that value is diminished
Sometimes a Player has the most value to his current team. He fits exactly what the team wants and needs, cheap controllable and versatile
He plays 2B, LF, 1B and RF well. Hits LH has good baseball sense and a great vision at the plate with pop.
I don’t see Kiermier playing well enough or stay healthy enough to keep a FT starter job.
I don’t see Espinal as a starter, he proved last year he breaks down with too much usage.
In my ideal world Whit is the CF to start the year cause KK is injured, Biggio and Espinal platoon at 2B with Espinal seeing time at SS and 3B to keep Bo / Chap fresh.
Pie in the sky thought, if Profar signed to play LF and move Varsho to CF??
Even bigger pie in the sky idea, Trade Barriera to Pitt for Reynolds to play LF and move Varsho to CF.
Kiermier is 4th OF in those situations. But both are Switch hitters so you’re not losing a LHH
Biggio is only a big leaguer because of his last name. But at least he’s not as bad as Kody Clemens with his 145 average and 45 OPS+ lol.
There are other players that have “zero” trade value that would be more beneficial to the Jays than Biggio. Your analysis has a lot of roster manipulation to accommodate what can best be described as a bench player. Merrifield to CF.. trade for Reynolds.. sign Profar. That’s a lot of busy work.
What if they traded for Robles (Nats). A right handed bat that had a 110 wRC+ against lefties that can be a weak side platoon with Varsho/Kiermaier. Plus plus with the glove and better on the bases.
Merrifield stays at 2B where he belongs. Espinal stays with the utility role.
One move stabilizes the roster instead of having players in positions they’re not best at. Afterall Merrifield and Biggio are not outfielders.
You make a good point saint, only thing I don’t agree with is the risk of a Robles vs the risk of Biggio.
Merrifield is fine in CF, he’s not the ideal 4th OF because he’s really only useful in CF because of his speed and glove. His arm doesn’t play in the corners. But that’s fine as long as there’s a 5th RHH OF to supplant any of the other LHH OF, be it Varsho or Biggio on occasion and even Lukes if he’s on the team
Back to the original topic, Robles had pedigree, hasn’t materialized. Chance is still there and he’s adequate at what’s required. But not a certain bet
Biggio is essentially the same, except in the INF. I’d argue has had more success than Robles to this point and the old adage the devil you know is better than the one you don’t.
Ideally you want studs everywhere. Biggio could be one at 2nd, it’s the only place where his skills play best, even if Merrifield is a slight tick above him. If he repeats his rookie numbers everyone would say he’s all star material etc etc.
Kiermier is the problem with this roster currently. He’s not a Stud, won’t magically turn into one.
His a glorified Bradley JR. He could be good this year at the plate. But I’d bet he won’t be great. He might even start to regress in CF now at his age.
Varsho should be the CF, Kiermier got brought in first, I think he was the first off-season move (maybe teo?). If they had traded for Varsho first, Kiermier never gets signed.
Varsho can be a Stud, especially in CF.
Reynolds can also be a Stud in LF which is why I’d support a trade that doesn’t involve Tiedemann
An OF of Reynolds Varsho Springer is a Stud OF.
An INF of Chapman(hitting 35 HR) Bo(playing good D) Biggio (at his best) and Vlad (self explanatory) is a Stud INF.
I’m thinking big. Profar is really my bottom of the barrel 4th OF addition to help cover platoon situations
Merrifield covers CF/2B
Kiermier covers all OF spots
Espinal covers all INF spots
Kirk/Belt rotate in out of DH with Kirk getting a 35% of C duties
Front office made it a point to get platoons all over, except C.
I can’t imagine any LHH riding the bench if they are producing.
All in all I’d rather see Biggio get full time ABs over Kiermier, especially if Varsho is equal to Kiermier on D.
You’ll get a much bigger improvement upgrading LF with Reynolds over Espinal and Kiermier playing regularly
@Hammerin’ Hank Yeah, totally not because he was a 20/20 (24 homers/20 SB) batter between 2019-2020 (159 games) and had an OBP of nearly .370.
NoSaint, I like the Robles fit you suggest. But isn’t Merrifield an outfielder? He was a gold glove nominee in part for the quality of work in the outfield last year. I don’t really understand why you’d really ever play him at 2B. For all the Biggio hate, at least he can approach league average output against RHP. And against LHP, Espinal is preferred with the bat and glove at 2B. But against LHP you really don’t want Varsho or Kiermaier seeing any plate appearances so that’s a Merrifield fit in my mind.
Playing 2B, 5200+ innings; LF, 241; CF 652; RF, 1250. Espinal approaches league average against RHP as well but with superior defence. Agree about Varsho not seeing any games against LHP. A career 66 wRC+ makes him pretty much unplayable. Kiermaier has an 85 (3 seasons) wRC+ is manageable given the defence he brings.
Adding Robles (110 wRC+ against LHP last year) removes Varsho/Kiermaier. Going roster crazy, plugging in Merrifield LF gives the Jays a right hand hitting OF and Espinal plays 2B.
Profar is off the table and the ask for Reynolds was controllable high end starters. Tiedeman would definitely be part of a package. Merrifield has about twice as many inning in RF as he does CF and about nine times as many inning at 2B than in CF. Merrifield is a 2B that sometimes plays the OF.
The problem with the roster isn’t Kiermaier. The problem is they don’t have a right handed 4th OF.
Your juggling the roster with additions and putting players in positions they aren’t best at to accommodate a bench player.
Correction: misread the headline as Padres sign Profar. He’s still on the table.
I don’t understand the Biggio hate
Expectations were too high after his first two seasons.
The 2nd season was no where near his rookie season, although still slightly above average.
Put together he was still nearly 20% better than average.
I totally understand why his last 2 years have been awful, I just don’t get why no one else is giving him the benefit of the doubt.
I could care less if his last name or father is Biggio, Ruth, Delgado, Alomar, Mays or Dimaggio.
This is his last shot, he’s going to be needed to perform if the Jays want 1st in the ALE and knock off Houston before going to the WS and winning.
He needs to be given a fair opportunity to do that. Not sporadic playing time, not fill in 3 times a weeks at 3 different positions.
Let him take 2nd, and prove why he’s still on the team.
This is the final chance for a few Jays, Biggio, Bo, Whit, Chapman, Romano, even Vlad to a lesser extent.
If they want to get paid, be on a winning team, win championships all those guys need to be the top of their games
Jays will pay them all accordingly if they actually show up this year and perform better than they have.
Many of them will be traded just like Teo and Lourdes. Either at the deadline or off-season depending on contract status and performance
I really like Biggio but I understand the hate. MLB’s rule changes are to please the fans who want more action and more balls in play. That’s not Biggio. Biggio can’t cover the whole zone and make good contact. He knows that so is patient and waits for a pitch he can do something with. It leads to some walks but also some long at bats and higher k rates. Fans seem to remember the Ks more than the times he reaches base. Whereas Merrifield hardly reaches base but when he does, he gets there with exciting dribblers just past the outstretched glove of the SS and that’s why his routine ground ball outs and can o’ corn flyouts give him the allusion of being a good offensive player. Neither player is awesome. Neither is useless. They have situational strengths. But for similarly productive guys, many fans see one of them as a star and one of them as a wasted roster spot.
Somehow you have the wrong Dusty Baker linked. lol
Biggio made a great play a few days ago in RF, catching a fly ball as he slid toward the foul line, then popping up and doubling off a runner at 1B. Biggio said he heard the base coach yelling, “Get back, get back!” so came up throwing without seeing the runner. Brains!
The bottom line is the Jays are going to be able to give the regulars plenty of rest without missing a beat. Every position is backed up by a solid player.